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Ensuring effective access to prescribed medicines while preventing nefarious addiction

Addiction to prescribed medicines is the result of an “insidious and gradual process of giving up control of one’s own life for the sake of relief” provided by the prescribed medicine, the Standing Committee said. Such addiction, it added, is a “systemic social problem that requires a holistic and multidisciplinary approach”.

Following the proposals by the rapporteur, Joseph O'Reilly (Ireland, EPP/CD), the Standing Committee called on Council of Europe member States to follow WHO’s guidance and develop national guidelines on the proper use of prescribed medicines with addictive potential, which carefully balance the competing needs of ensuring effective access to prescribed medicines while preventing nefarious addiction.

The Committee of Ministers, the parliamentarians said, should consider issuing a recommendation on the rights of patients in relation to the use of prescription medicines, containing, inter alia, the right to effective access and availability of essential medicines, including those that contain controlled substances under international law, as well as the right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, free of dependency or addiction.